Right at Home at Renato’s

It has been likened to the ideal dining spot—a place filled with the fresh scents of a kitchen on Capri, the sophisticated décor of a Manhattan dining room, and the elegance of a breezy Palm Beach terrace. For almost 30 years, Palm Beach’s Renato’s—tucked away at the back of the bougainvillea-rimmed Via Mizner—has been perfecting the art fine dining.

For an enclave like Palm Beach, which prides itself on preserving tradition and clinging to the old school, Renato’s doesn’t disappoint. In fact, it remains a healthy reminder of why some things—like a storybook Italian restaurant, complete with crisp white linens, bow-tied waiters in black and white, and ample ambient light and fresh flowers—never go out of fashion. The ambiance is upscale but the attitude is more down-home: welcoming and good-hearted, as affable as any Italian eatery you might stumble upon on a trip along the Amalfi Coast. Warm, congenial, cheerful, and clubby—Renato’s is all these things.

For many, Renato’s is the first destination when touching down in Palm Beach. After a morning flight, returning guests flock here for lunch in the courtyard, where you can settle in between the orchid- and ivy-lined walls and get a welcoming kiss from the sun. If you’re lucky enough to land on one of those perfect Palm Beach nights, the French doors of the restaurant are left open to create an indoor-outdoor dining experience while a piano player serenades with soft melodies.

Romance is always in the air at Renato’s, along with the savory scent of that craved-for cuisine. Italian staples like Caprese salad and prosciutto with melon are of course on offer, but the restaurant likes to remind you that this is a world-class experience for a worldly clientele. If you’re starting with Champagne instead of Prosecco, you might want to forego the mixed antipasto and opt for the foie gras instead—a knock–your–taste buds–to–the–floor pan-seared foie gras with caramelized figs and cranberries, drizzled with a blackberry brandy sauce. If the Mediterranean is calling your name, there’s the Misto di Mare—a cocktail of jumbo shrimp, crab claws, and jumbo lump crabmeat with appropriate cocktail sauces. Or a plate of broiled prawns with mustard aioli and crispy capers. Or a classic Caesar salad, all crispy Romaine topped with herbed croutons, Parmesan cheese, white anchovy, and the delectable homemade dressing.

You can’t really go wrong with any of the homemade pastas or risotto dishes, but the saffron risotto with Maine lobster, crabmeat, sweet peas, and tomato remains exceptional. The secondi are succulent, from the Dover sole to the Ossobucco Milanese, and a house favorite remains the center-cut veal chop with porcini-truffle sauce, potato croquette, and broccoli rabe.

The extensive menu doesn’t end with dessert (they just keep coming)—but there’s something about a crème brûlée with tropical flair that always calls our name in Palm Beach. Finish it off with a bubbly toast to the season—and remind yourself that you’ll soon be back to Renato’s. 

Categories: Feature, Food